In the US each August, the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) sponsors the Santa Fe Indian Market, a world-famous event drawing more than 115,000 people and over $160 million in revenues to the region and to the state of New Mexico. 99 years after the first Indian fair took place in Santa Fe in 1922, COVID-19 forced SWAIA to cancel this important in-person event and look to the internet as a tool for “bringing native arts to the world.”
The spirits of creativity and resiliency run deep in New Mexico, so as the Santa Fe Indian Market scrambled to move online, the community rallied to help these indigenous entrepreneurs learn to use the tools of the Internet to support their creative micro-enterprises. CommUNITY Learning Network (CLN) is a local educational and community-building nonprofit that has teamed with the city of Santa Fe Office of Economic Development for the last three years to support and coordinate Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in Northern New Mexico. This summer, CLN coordinated more than 40 interns and volunteers to work one-on-one with more than 250 native artists to help them build, launch and promote their websites to showcase and sell their artwork online– just in time for the virtual Santa Fe Indian Market in August.
Providing free workshops and support for entrepreneurs to learn to build and manage their own website is an important part of CLN’s “1000 websites in a 1000 days” campaign and a feature event of Global Entrepreneurship Week in New Mexico. Local communities are looking to strengthen micro-enterprise development as a critical part of economic resiliency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, visitors from around the globe are invited to tune in during Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in Santa Fe to meet a few of these indigenous entrepreneurs online and browse the work of more than 250 native artists by exploring the growing list of websites. Individual native artists are also featured one-by-one in posts scheduled to appear weekly over the next year on CLN social media pages including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For updates on special events, online workshops. and upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in Santa Fe and New Mexico, join the website mailing list or visit us online.